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This article was published 27/9/2016 (1720 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Laura Tymchyshyn is grateful to have baton twirling in her life.
The 16-year-old Southdale resident is a member of Aerial Fusion Baton, which is now accepting registrations for upcoming season. The club operates out of various gyms in the East Kildonan and Transcona areas. Another local club, Greendell Baton and Dance, which operates out of Greendell Park Community Centre (75 Woodlawn Ave.), is also accepting registrations.
Tymchyshyn has been twirling of eight years, having joined Aerial Fusion from the Southdale-based dance studio Magic ‘n’ Motion in 2012. And from the moment she picked up a baton for the first time, the Dakota Collegiate student has not looked back.
"What I love most about baton twirling is where it’s taken me and how much confidence it’s given me," Tymchyshyn said, noting her coach Leisha Strachan has been a major role model.
"The sport has brought so much to my life, including giving me confidence. It’s one of those sports where you can push yourself to the limits and the body can do things that you didn’t know it could do. When I tell people I’m involved with baton, especially adults, the reaction is kind of cool, and some of them relate to it as a big sport when they were kids, which makes sense when you think about how popular marching bands were."
One highlight of Tymchyshyn’s baton career to date was qualifying for the world championships, which was held in Sweden in August, after a stellar performance at the Canadian team trials in Whitby, Ont. As a result, she was asked to take the alternate spot on the Canadian team, when she was ready to step into the breach if any of her team members got injured.
This was also Tymchyshyn’s first year twirling as a pair with Sage Creek resident Yonatan Orlov, who also competed in Sweden.
"It was so cool to be there, I have so many cool stories about the experience," she said.
In terms of paying it forward, Tymchyshyn recently got into coaching baton and is thriving on the experience.
"I recently got my coaching certificate and look on the faces of the kids when you teach them certain things is so amazing, it’s indescribable. They get so excited."
Orlov, 17, placed eighth in the junior men’s freestyle category in Sweden.
"It was a wonderful experience and it was great to represent my country," said Orlov, who lives in Sage Creek and is a member of Greendell Baton.
"Being overseas with the Team Canada contingent was a great opportunity to bond with the other athletes."
The Glenlawn Collegiate student said each year on the baton twirling circuit brings new opportunities to "freestyle to new music and choreography" and also gives him the chance to set himself new challenges and targets.
He encourages young people who may not have experienced the sport to consider giving it a try.
"If you put your mind to it and feel like you enjoy it, then it’s a great sport, especially if you’re open-minded and you come into it looking to have fun," he said.
Orlov now has his sights set on the 2017 IBTF Grand Prix and the WBTF International Cup, both of which will be held in Croatia.
Go online at www.leaguelineup.com/welcome.asp?url=afbaton&sid=535921006 to learn more about Aerial Fusion. Visit greendellbaton.wordpress.com to learn more about Greendell.
At press time, prospective twirlers could register for Greendell at Greendell Park CC on Sat., Oct 1 and Sat., Oct. 8 from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
The Lance community journalist
Simon Fuller is the community journalist for The Lance. Canstar’s senior reporter, he joined the team in June 2009 to write for The Sou’wester, which was then the new paper in the Canstar family.